Māgha Pūjā is a one day celebration filled with thought and praise. This day commemorates the day Lord Buddha recited the "Ovadha Patimokkha" to his deciples, teaching them the moral standards to be followed by all Buddhists. They are; to do good, to abstain from bad action and to purify the mind.
Māgha Pūjā is a public holiday in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It was declared a public holiday so that everyone could go to the temple to praise Lord Buddha and perform other religious activities in the morning and to take part in the candlelit procession or "Wien Tien" in the evening.
During Wien Tien, Buddhists pay homage to Lord Buddha’s great compassion towards all life. They offer the light to worship his purity and wisdom as they pray. As Buddhists worship him with respect, they receive merit in return. The merit for paying homage to the Lord Buddha will enable them to be successful in life. It is believed that the gift of light allows Buddhists to have a bright mind, luminous wisdom, and a beautiful radiance.
According to the Buddhist scripture, there was once a woman who lit lanterns to pay homage to the Lord Buddha. Her good karma caused her to be reborn as a beautiful woman with a subtle golden complexion. Radiance glowed from her body constantly, even when she was in the dark, she could see because of her own radiance. Once she was anointed to become a Bhikkhuni (a female Buddhist monk), she was able to obtain wisdom quickly and went on to become a female disciple monk who was recognized by the Lord Buddha as one who was excellent in recalling past lifetimes.
Māgha Pūjā is a largely celebrated holiday. All over the world, Buddhists gather to praise Lord Buddha to gain wisdom and beauty on one of the most important days of the year.